Efforts for a more formal Food Code for Belize Print E-mail
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Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

A National Stakeholders sensitization on the CODEX Alimentarius was held on Wednesday of this week at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. Participants from a range of both Government and Private Sector organization attended the first day of meeting, which continues Thursday, where a more in depth overview of the food codes will be reviewed. These two days of workshops have been organized by the Belize Bureau of Standards BBS and the Belize Agriculture Health Authority BAHA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation and Agriculture IICA and the Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio MEIC of Costa Rica.

The CODEX Alimentarius Commission was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963. Its membership today is 185 member states and 200 inter-governmental and international non-governmental organizations as observers. Its main work is the development of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practices to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in food trade. It promotes the coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Belize became a member of CODEX in 1992 and has participated in committee meetings of the Commission and the subsidiary bodies.  The two days of meetings held this week is to assist in forming sub committees, comprised of both public and private sector representatives within the National CODEX Committee.

CODEX Alimentarius has great relevance for Belize’s trade with international partners. In 2013 Belize’s food importation bill amounted to 262 million BZD accounting for 14.1% of all goods imported. Also, 2013 exports amounted to 627.6 million BZD if which food items accounted for 473.01 million BZD or 75.4% of that amount.

In his presentation with participants, Jose Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture states that Belize is a source of reliable and ethically produced products.

“Some Belizean Industries have already benefited from CODEX,” he said.

“From the Ministry’s perspective, we will continue to collaborate with the Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Trade…the work we do is ongoing and dynamic.”

Dr. Miguel Figueroa, the Director of Food Safety and Services within BAHA informs the Guardian that workshop is an initial stage of CODEX in Belize and is an effort to also protect Belizean consumers.